The Two Sides of Connie
‘Narrative details in ' Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?’
The story ' Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?' is about the fifteen year old Connie who is a girl struggling with her sexuality. The girl tries to be an adult and attractive, but at the same time, she hides her sexual side from her family. These two sides cannot remain separate from each other at all times and collide with each other, which this short story depicts. The main idea in this short story is the sexuality of Connie and her struggle to keep her sexual and non-sexual side separate. The narrative details that contribute to this main idea are firstly Connie acting differently than she does while with her family, which shows that she hides her sexual side, secondly, one of the main characters Arnold Friend, the antagonist and thirdly Connie’s reaction when she is confronted by Arnold Friend, showing that she is far from ready to fully embrace her sexuality.
Firstly, the two sides of Connie, Connie’s nightlife and her every day normal life with her family at home, emphasizes her developing sexuality. When Connie goes out with her girlfriends she shows a side of her that she will never show to her family: “Her walk, which could be childlike and bobbing, or languid enough to make anyone think she was hearing music in her head; her mouth, which was pale and smirking most of the time, but bright and pink on these evenings out; her laugh, which was cynical and drawling at home—"Ha, ha, very funny,"—but highpitched and nervous anywhere else, like the jingling of the charms on her bracelet.” (Oates 2) By acting like this she tries to be attractive to boys and in particular older men. This behaviour creates a very distinct contrast that contributes to the story's main idea. Connie hides her sexuality from her family, where she only makes fun of her sister and has fights with her mother. This indicates that she is ashamed by her sexual side, because when going...
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